Current World Events and Biblical Prophecy – Program 3

By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, Dr. Elwood McQuaid, Dr. Renald Showers; ©1998
There are serious preparations underway for a temple to rebuilt in Jerusalem. What will have to happen before that temple can be built?

Contents

Preparing for the Temple

Ankerberg: Welcome. We’re talking about “Current World Events and Biblical Prophecy” and we have three guests: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, an international journalist presently living and reporting from Jerusalem, Israel; Dr. Elwood McQuaid, the executive director of “The Friends of Israel,” who is an expert on the issues dividing Islam, Israel and the Western World. And Elwood’s had a tough time tonight coming in; had a little accident and slipped down the stairs and so the stitches right above his eye there. He’s been at the hospital getting those stitched up in the last two programs or so. And we’re glad that you finally made it here and it’s been a rugged evening. Alright, and Dr. Renald Showers is our third guest, a professor who has served on the faculties of Lancaster Bible College, Moody Bible Institute and Philadelphia College of the Bible. Guys, we’re glad that you’re here.
We’re approaching or right on the night of Christmas Eve and all over the world people are focusing on the birthplace of Jesus Christ, Bethlehem, and you talk about one hot-spot politically. Jimmy, you live in Jerusalem. You’ve been traveling down to Bethlehem. Elwood, you have as well. I’ve been there myself, and boy, things have changed as we are approaching all of the services that will take place in the Church of the Nativity and the place where Jesus was born, tell us, what’s been happening in Bethlehem? Jimmy, start us off.
DeYoung: Well, before I say that, you know, we have a unique place that we live in Jerusalem. We’re right on the edge of Jerusalem adjacent to Bethlehem. I can look out my living room window, see Bethlehem; out my bedroom window, see the Mount of Olives. A neat place to live. And, indeed, my wife and I would go over to Bethlehem and purchase fruit and we needed some fruit because they have some delicious fruit from the valley of Jericho area. Bethlehem has become an unbelievable hot spot.
Christmas of 1995, Yasser Arafat came to Bethlehem because they had just given—the Israeli government—had just given the responsibility of administering and managing Bethlehem back to the Palestinian people. At the southern border of Jerusalem there is Bethlehem. Yasser Arafat stood there on Christmas Eve 1995, a big banner behind him in Arabic that said: “Jesus was the first Palestinian.” And he made a statement at that meeting, “We’re here in Bethlehem this year to celebrate Christmas; next year in Jerusalem.” Well, they have, of course, an unbelievable gathering on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem. Choirs from all over the world. There’s a telecast goes worldwide to that unique little spot of Bethlehem. And I happened to have an opportunity to have a meeting with Mayor Frige who was the Mayor of Bethlehem and he said that he happens to be a christian Arab. Now, when I say christian Arab I mean little c christian, not big C Christian. If he’s not a Moslem or a Jew, he would be a christian. Bethlehem used to be as we say a christian Arab city. Eighty-five percent Christian in population; 15 percent Moslem. The mayor told me in our last meeting together, that has completely reversed. It’s now 85 percent Moslem; 15 percent christian. And indeed, I have talked to the Christian community in Bethlehem who say that they are either being run out of town or persecuted as they stay there. Merchants in the area…in fact, scribbled on the wall in Bethlehem not long ago was the sign, “We’re taking care of the Saturday people, the Jewish people. Next will be the Sunday people, the Christians.”
Ankerberg: Let’s talk about this thing. Let’s jump from Bethlehem to what you said about Jerusalem. Okay? The fact is, it’s a contentious point between Palestinian Arabs and the Jewish people who’s going to own and control that city. We could go to war on that one. But there’s another contentious point that we haven’t brought up and that is the Temple Mount itself. Alright? Let’s start with Scripture, first of all. Why are we talking about it in “Current World Events and Biblical Prophecy”? Well, we think this is going to be a big spot coming up in the future. What’s on the Temple Mount. 2 Thessalonians 2, Rennie, says, “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way for that day”—that’s the Day of the Lord—”will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction”—the one called the Antichrist. Now, what it says about him: “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped so that he sets himself up in God’s temple”—God’s temple has got to be there for him to do that—”proclaiming himself to be God.” Now, the fact is, if there’s going to be a Jewish temple, it’s got to be on the Temple Mount. The fact is, what happens to the Dome of the Rock, that’ll be a little sticking point right there. How does this come about? What’s going to happen?
Showers: Well, let me point out, that’s only one of about three passages that make it very clear there will be a temple there for the Tribulation. That one, and 2 Thessalonians 2. Daniel 9:27, which is dealing with the seven-year Tribulation period, indicates that right in the middle of that seven-year period the Antichrist will put a stop to sacrifices and offerings that the Jews will have reinstituted, and certainly they won’t have sacrifices and offerings without a temple. And then Jesus, in Matthew 24:15, speaking to Jews who will be living in Israel in the future Tribulation said this, “When you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in your holy place”—which, again, is a reference to the temple—”those of you who are in Judah flee to the mountains because then will be such great tribulation such as has never been in the past nor ever will be again.”
Now, even Jewish scholars disagree as to exactly where on the Temple Mount the two previous temples of Israel stood. There are some who believe that it stood where the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim building, is now standing. Other Jewish archaeologists say, “No, that the first two temples were north of that on a large open space here in the Temple Mount and that therefore Israel could build a new temple in that open space without touching either one of the Muslim buildings on top of that Temple Mount.” We don’t know how it will come about that Israel will be able to build a temple there. All we know is the Scriptures make it very clear they will have a new temple for the future Tribulation.
Right now there’s an organization in Jerusalem called the Temple Institute and they have duplicated the instruments of worship that were in the previous temples, the high priests’ garment. They have made the silver trumpets that were played in the worship services in the temple. They set up a priestly training school where they take Jewish men whom they are convinced are descendants of the priestly tribe and are training them for the priesthood.
There’s a Jewish couple who used to live in the Atlanta area who has moved permanently to Jerusalem. Through extensive research they’ve rediscovered the kind of harps that were played in the worship services in the temple and they’re reproducing those. In Paris, France right now there’s an elderly Jewish woman, a professional musician, who through extensive research has rediscovered the exact kind of music that was played and sung in the temple worship services of Solomon’s Temple and Herod’s Temple. She’s already set the Song of Solomon and the Book of Ecclesiastes to that music. She’s presently setting all 150 of the Psalms to that music as well. So that there are serious preparations for a new temple and God says it’s going to be there. How, we don’t know yet.
DeYoung: You know, we’re at Christmas season. If you look in the New Testament, Matthew 1 and 2; Luke 1 and 2, there are 168 verses. And that tells the Christmas Story. But in the Book of Ezekiel, Chapters 40 to 46 there are 202 verses that give absolute minute detail about a coming temple that’s going to stand in the city of Jerusalem. Allocation of space tells us we need to know what’s going on as it relates to the coming temple that will stand on the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem.
Ankerberg: Elwood, if we heard an announcement that the Jewish people were going to start to rebuild their temple tomorrow, what would that mean in terms of prophecy?
Dr. Elwood McQuaid: Well, in the first place let me just tack on to what’s already been said. I stood just days ago in a room overlooking the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. And on the door going into that room was the word “Sanhedrin.” And when you walk through that door, you see semi-circular tables; 70 chairs; a seat for the high priest. And you get a very acute feeling, a sense of…almost a sense of urgency that’s welling up in the hearts of the Jewish people. These people who are preparing the harps, preparing the vessels for the temple, identifying the priests, studying sacrificial worship, these people are written off sometimes as the “kook fringe” types of people. They are not that. They are intelligent; they’re serious; they’re dedicated and they are people who really believe that once they can sacrifice animal blood once again, the void in their hearts is going to be filled and, of course, we weep for them because we know no animal blood will meet the void that only the One who was born in Bethlehem, the Lord Jesus, the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world, can meet. But for world Jewry, I can tell you, John, that if the Jewish people began to build a temple, or if they should find an artifact. You know, the search is on for the Ark of the Covenant. If they could find an artifact, if the Pope would bring with his visit, as Israel has requested him to do, the Menorah from the holy place, it would be such a revolutionary experience for the Jews they would demand a house for it and we’d see things start to happen.
Ankerberg: We’ve got to take a break and we’ll come back to those two thoughts. And what I want to ask you about is that I remember that during or just in the prelude, I think, to the Gulf War, the reason—a lot of our American people don’t recognize this—why Saddam Hussein rained down the SCUDs on Israel had to do with some fellows trying to lay the foundation stone and that was your first entrance into Israel. You got there just in time to have those SCUDs come down on you and to live with that for a while. I want you to tell us about that and what the laying of that foundation stone, why it caused almost a worldwide war and why Saddam Hussein started shooting the SCUDs at them and how it relates to biblical prophecy. We’re going to do all that when we come right back.

Ankerberg: Alright we’re back and we’re talking about “Current World Events and Biblical Prophecy.” The events that are staring us right in the face, some of them that we’ve lived through we don’t recognize the significance of some of these events. One of them that was very important in Israel but was not really realized across the world was when a group of orthodox Jews tried to go up and lay the first foundation rock, the big one, up there on the Temple Mount and tell us what happened.
DeYoung: Gershon Salomon is the leader of a group called The Temple Mount Faithful, and their whole thrust, their whole goal is to be able to take that rock which was cut out of the desert, which was cut according to Jewish law, without metal on the stone. They have the cornerstone; they wanted to take it up on the Temple Mount. As they endeavored to do that, I happened to be there with a television camera. I talked with Gershon that day. All the rest of the journalists of the world were standing and looking and I just jumped up and started saying, “What are you doing?” “We’re taking the cornerstone up. We want to put it on the Temple Mount.”
You know, Gershon Salomon had a unique experience. On June 8, 1967, the day after the Jewish people had captured the Temple Mount, he went up on the Temple Mount; there was met by the official Jordanian guide and the Jordanian guide said, “I guess you’re here to put the temple up.” And he said, “Let me just show you the location according to our tradition where the temple would stand.” He said, “Because the Koran says that one day the Jew will come back and put his temple here.” Gershon had the experience and that’s what’s motivated him over these years. As he endeavored to take it up that day back in the early 90s.
Ankerberg: Why did Saddam Hussein get so mad?
DeYoung: Well, a whole Arab world got mad. And, in fact, they demonstrated on the Temple Mount. When I was doing a documentary about this whole situation, I was interviewing the official Palestinian guide on the Temple Mount. I said, “What if they come up here to try to put the temple? What are you going to do?” He said, “We’ll put one million Arabs on the Temple Mount to stop them from ever taking this spot away from us.” They want to go up there. I, in the first part of the program, as saying something or trying to follow up what all of my friends here took my information and gave to you, and I just wanted to tell you the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say. Two points. Number one, during the Gulf Crisis, when the SCUDs would be coming in and we were there for all 39 SCUD attacks, putting our gas masks on every time. But the orthodox Jews never put their gas masks on. The ones that live in the old city of Jerusalem, they ran literally to the Western Wall; they started praying for one of those SCUDs to hit the Dome of the Rock. Do you know what SCUD stood for? SCUD? “Sure could use direction.” Saddam Hussein didn’t know where they were going. He was hoping they’d take out one of those rocks.
Two men that I interviewed, one of them Slomo Goren, he was the chief rabbi at the time when they took back the old city, the Temple Mount area. He’s the first rabbi to blow a shofar and offer a prayer at the Western Wall and then the man who was responsible for all the holy sites, the Jewish holy sites in Israel, Yehuda Getz, both of these very distinguished rabbis went underneath the Temple Mount and both of them told me in different times, they came within 25 feet of getting the Ark of the Covenant. One of them related to me he had seen the Ark of the Covenant.
One final thought I wanted to share. You’re talking about the couple that moved from the United States to Israel making the harps. Do you know what? After the Jerusalem Post reporter reported that they were making these harps, she came back and said, “It’s the first time in 2,000 years a harp has been made in Israel.” Three days later a rabbi showed up. He said, “Do you have a ten-string harp here?” “Yes, we do.” “May I see it?” “Certainly you may.” “May I hold it?” And he held it and he started to cry. And Shoshanna Harrari, the wife of Micah who made the first harp, said, “What’s the matter, Rabbi?” He said, “The Talmud,” extrabiblical Jewish writing, “The Talmud says that when the ten-string harp shows up in Jerusalem, that’s the time for the coming of the Messiah.” That’s where it is today.
McQuaid: Let me finish the rest of the story….
DeYoung: What did I tell you I forgot….
Ankerberg: Elwood, would you help us out? If the Jewish rabbis are saying they’ve seen it; they can get to it, yet they haven’t. If they did go in and they brought it out, Scripture tells us that you can’t put that into a museum. Where do you have to put it? You’ve got to put it in a temple, don’t you?
McQuaid: I asked Benjamin Mazar, who was the archaeologist who worked on the Temple Mount for many years, that very question. I said, “For example, say you should dig into an artifact as significant as the Ark of the Covenant. What would you do with it?” And he thought for a long time and asked me why I was asking that question. I told him. But then he said, “Well, to say the least, it would be the greatest day in the history of the state of Israel, and the first question would be: Where are we going to put it? And the obvious answer was, We’ll have to build a house for it. And there’s only one place to build that house.
Ankerberg: Guys, answer this question. Do you think the temple is going to be rebuilt in our lifetime?
DeYoung: I think we’ll be alive eternally because the Rapture will take place before the temple starts to be built.
Ankerberg: What is that thing called the Rapture? And what is this thing called the Tribulation for people that don’t know, Rennie?
Showers: Well, the Rapture is an event where the Lord Jesus will come from Heaven to the air above the earth and He will snatch up all the born-again Christians from the face of the earth to meet Him in the air and then return with them to live in the mansions in the Father’s house that He’s preparing for them now. And after the Rapture, planet earth will enter into a very unique seven-year period of time which is characterized by Tribulation, the second half of which Jesus said will be such great tribulation “such as never has been in the past, or ever will be again.” And except God had determined to cut those days off at a certain time, all flesh would perish from planet earth. The worst time in world history.
Ankerberg: Yeah. In that Tribulation time period, what does the temple have to do with that?
Showers: Well, the Scriptures, again, make it very clear that during the first half of that Tribulation Israel will be worshipping at that temple; they will be offering animal sacrifices. But according to Daniel 9:27 in the very middle of that seven-year Tribulation period Antichrist, the head of the revived Roman Empire from Western Europe, will be in Jerusalem. He will take control of that temple; he will stop the Jewish sacrifices, and will boldly and brazenly claim that he is God and require all of his subjects to worship him as God. And those who refuse to do so he’ll try to put to death.
Ankerberg: And isn’t it right, just like right now, if we know that Christmas is coming in a couple of days; we know that we’re already past Thanksgiving. And if we were to see the preparations and the building of a temple that the Bible says the Antichrist is going to go in and that’s the Tribulation and we believe that the coming of Christ and the Rapture is before that, what does that mean? Could Christ come at any moment right now?
Showers: Yes. In fact, the Scriptures…in fact, in New Testament times the coming of Christ was imminent. And that means it’s always hanging overhead; it could come at any moment. Many things may happen before it happens, but biblically nothing must happen before the Lord comes. And therefore we should be ready moment by moment by moment to meet the Lord Jesus.
DeYoung: John, you know the interesting thing about this temple, it could only take a six-month period to build the temple. Preparations to build the temple. You need 28,000 priests to operate the temple when it’s in full operation. Those men have to be trained. You need their garments. You need the implements that the men have talked about. Four thousand harps have to be there for the Levite harp orchestra to play. That all has to be in place prior to the starting of the building—that can be done in six months after the Rapture. If you have everything else, all the other preparations done, you can put the temple up in just a couple of days.
Ankerberg: Elwood?
McQuaid: Talking about what we can see today that is emblematic of this great struggle that’s going on and the focal point is that Temple Mount and it is a Satan-God struggle and the strategies are becoming so clear today that we can see them, we can recognize them, and many times we make the mistake of trying to identify the wrong instigators. But, going back to Bethlehem, the place of the birth of our Lord Jesus, Yasser Arafat stood on a platform atop the Church of the Nativity, he gave the victory sign when 600,000 Islamic radicals were standing in that square saying, “In spirit and in blood we will redeem Palestine.” Now, that sets the standard for the tension and the issue. The same thing goes to the Temple Mount when the Antichrist will one day stand there. What was the issue? Herod tried to kill the Lord Jesus in His infancy in Bethlehem. The Antichrist is trying to usurp divine authority and dethrone Christ in that Tribulation temple. So we see the battle lines being drawn and even as we sit here tonight, that conflict is at issue.
Ankerberg: Rennie, Scripture said, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from old,” actually from eternity. The fact is, tonight, we’re getting close to Christmas or we’re right on Christmas Eve, and there’s a lot of people that are celebrating the birth of Jesus and they’ve never met Him personally. How can they actually know Him and experience His great power, this One that is coming again to earth? How can they know Him tonight?
Showers: By recognizing they’ve sinned against a holy God. There are no works they can do personally to make themselves right with God whom they have offended through their sin, and that’s why God sent His Son from eternity past into the world to become a human being born in the town of Bethlehem on that first Christmas night, so that when He would grow up as an adult, Jesus would die as a substitute for the sins of human beings. He would die on the cross; He would be buried in a grave; He would be resurrected bodily from that grave three days later. In other words, He does all the work necessary for us to be saved as sinful human beings. Now what we must do is put our trust in Him and Him alone to be our Savior, and that will put us into a right personal relationship with the holy God of the universe.
Ankerberg: That’s right. Next week I hope that you’ll join us because we’re going to look at what the Bible has to say about the area, the geographical area where the Soviet Union, Russia, is at. What would happen in Russia if Boris Yeltsin was to die? Today on the news wires they’re trying to impeach him. If he was to go, what would happen in Russia? What would that mean to events in the Middle East, to Israel? Is this shaping up as to what God says in the Bible? I hope that you’ll join us next week.

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